Moving Home Safely
Latest advice & FAQs

Covid-19 Update

COVID-19 Update - Version 16, Updated 1/07/2020

The health and well-being of our colleagues, customers and communities is our utmost priority. Following on from the recent government's announcement we’re working hard to ensure that we can return to work whilst keeping everyone safe. 

FAQs

For added peace of mind, we thought we’d put together some FAQs which might help to answer your queries or concerns at this difficult time.

Mortgage and Protection FAQs

  • Can I still get a mortgage to buy a property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes you can. Countrywide Mortgages Services can still help provide an “Advice and Recommendation service” to help review your mortgage and protection requirements, all from the comfort of your own home.

    Using the technology that Countrywide already has in place, we can progress the whole mortgage and protection application process over the phone and email. This includes digitally signing all the necessary forms and paperwork*. To get started please email admin@mortgagescountrywide.co.uk and include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can. *A fee will be payable for arranging your mortgage. Your Consultant will confirm the amount before you choose to proceed.

    Updated government advice can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

  • Is a mortgage payment holiday right for me? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The mortgage payment holiday is designed to protect the most vulnerable by alleviating immediate financial pressure and any stress or worries they may have in meeting all their financial commitments and day to day needs.

    If you feel that you may struggle financially, taking the payment holiday (either in full or in part) may be the right thing for you to do and in the first instance you should contact your mortgage lender.

    If, however, you feel you can meet your monthly mortgage payments during this crisis, without it impacting on your everyday needs, then you should strongly consider continuing to pay them. 

    If you have taken or are considering taking a mortgage payment holiday, you must be aware, like any holiday, it must be paid for. For example, at the end of the holiday period your repayments to the end of your mortgage term might be recalculated by the lender to consider repayment of the portion of the outstanding loan payable, plus the interest not repaid during the deferred period.

    This may mean your new repayments are greater than you may have budgeted for and cause you further financial difficulty.

    Taking these practical steps may help you determine if a mortgage payment holiday is right for you.

    • Work out your finances.
      • Write down what money you currently have coming in from all sources, then consider any loss of income you may experience as a result of either being furloughed from your place of work or even losing your job due to the impact the crisis has had on your employer or self- employment opportunities.
    • Work out your outgoings.
      • Write down all your outgoings, prioritising these in order of most need, i.e. food, utilities (water, gas, electric) etc. This may be a good time to review whether payment for some of your non-essential commitments can be suspended or cancelled, for example gym memberships etc.
    • Work out what can you afford.
      • If your outgoings including your mortgage payments are likely to place financial stress on you and your family then you should contact your mortgage lender immediately to discuss your payment holiday options.

    It is important that you do not simply cancel your Direct Debit mandate as this may be counted as a missed payment and you will likely be charged by your bank. Your lender will suspend taking payments from your account once they have confirmed you are eligible for and the terms of your holiday have been agreed.

    You have until the 31st October to apply for a payment holiday however this date may be extended further should the crisis continue beyond this.

    Remember; If you can afford to pay any amount toward your monthly mortgage payments without affecting your ability to meet your priority needs, then we recommend you try to do so.

  • Contact details for your mortgage lender. Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

     

    Lender

    Contact details

    Barclays

    https://www.barclays.co.uk/mortgages/

    BM Solutions

    0345 850 5000

     https://secure.lloydsbank.com/

    Coventry Building Society

    0800 121 8899

    https://www.coventrybuildingsociety.co.uk/

    Halifax

    https://www.halifax.co.uk/mortgages/existing-customers/payment-holidays/?WT.ac=PaymentHoliday

    HSBC

    https://www.hsbc.co.uk/help/coronavirus/

    Leeds

    https://www.leedsbuildingsociety.co.uk/coronavirus-information/

    Nationwide

    https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/coronavirus/mortgage-payment-holiday

    NatWest

    https://personal.natwest.com/

    Platform

    https://www.co-operativebank.co.uk/news/2020/coronavirus-support-personal-customers

    Precise

    https://www.precisemortgages.co.uk/

    Santander

    https://www.santander.co.uk/personal/coronavirus?icid=php-Hero-Coronavirus-0320

    Scottish Widows Bank

    0345 845 0829

    The Mortgage Works

    https://www.themortgageworks.co.uk/payment-holidays

    Virgin Money

    https://uk.virginmoney.com/contact/support-hub/coronavirus/

     

  • I have taken an initial 3-month payment holiday, but I know that I won’t be able to start paying my mortgage payments again when this period ends, what should I do? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The government and the FCA have said lenders should continue to support any customer who has already had a payment holiday but need further help.

    As your current payment holiday nears its end, your mortgage lender should contact you to discuss your options. This may be that they offer an extension to the holiday period or work out with you a way for you to begin repaying some of your monthly payment amount to offset the interest accruing and lessen the impact of increased payments at the end of the extended term or when you can afford to begin repaying your monthly payments in full.

    Your mortgage lender may also suggest transferring your current arrangements to an alternative fixed or reduced rate deal.  If this is their suggestion, it may be advisable to seek further advice from a Countrywide Mortgage and Protection Consultant.  Here at Countrywide we are able to consider a wide range of mortgage products from across the market place and may be able to find a better rate or product with an alternative lender, which may be more suitable for your current and future needs.

    We do however agree that where you can meet some or all of your mortgage payments, you should begin to do so as soon as you can. This is providing of course that you can meet your day to day needs for you and your family and not overstretch yourself and missing a mortgage payment, as this may count as a payment default, again leading to you possibly being charged. Where possible, avoid using an overdraft facility to meet your payments as this could lead to future financial problems.

  • Can my lender repossess my home if I am unable to make any or all of my payments when the payment holiday ends?’ Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The government has placed a ban on mortgage lenders repossessing homes during the period of the pandemic, and this will continue to 31st October 2020. This is being reviewed constantly as the full impact of the crisis unfolds.

    If you are worried about money, relying on credit cards and overdrafts to pay your bills, or you are regularly missing payments due, please seek advice from a specialist debt agency.

    Talking  through financial issues with a debt adviser can help. 

    Please find below some suggested sources of debt management advice:

  • Will my ability to access credit, obtain a mortgage/re-mortgage be affected if I take or extend a payment holiday? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The government and the FCA have instructed financial institutions that any payment holiday, either full or in part should not impact an individual’s credit file however as lenders can use other sources to assess your creditworthiness it cannot be guaranteed that your access to credit will be unaffected.  This is why it may be in your interest to only take out or extend a payment holiday if there is no other alternative for you.

  • Can I still remortgage as my current interest rate is coming to an end? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following the recent Bank of England base rate cuts many lenders are still offering low remortgage rates for customers looking to reduce their monthly mortgage payments.

    Countrywide Mortgages Services can still help provide an “Advice and Recommendation service” and using the technology that is already in place, we can progress the whole remortgage application process over the phone and email. This includes digitally signing all the necessary forms and paperwork*.

    To get started please email admin@mortgagescountrywide.co.uk and include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can.

    *A fee will be payable for arranging your mortgage. Your Consultant will confirm the amount before you choose to proceed.

  • How do I get in touch with my Mortgage and Protection Consultant if the branch is closed? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If you have been liaising directly with your Mortgage Consultant then please continue to do so using the email or telephone number that they have supplied to you.

    We have set up a central email address for all new enquires and this is monitored regularly. Please email admin@mortgagescountrywide.co.uk and include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can.

  • How do I make a claim on my AXA or AVIVA policy that I arranged through Countrywide? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If you have to make a claim or have a query on either your household or personal protection policies, in the first instance please refer to your policy document which will highlight all the main helpline numbers.

    We have however listed all of the main contact numbers for both AXA and AVIVA below.

    Please do not cancel a policy without first speaking to us, as your valuable protection will no longer apply. If you wish to change or adjust any of your policies, or you wish to take additional cover then please contact us at admin@mortgagescountrywide.co.uk and include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can.

    AXA:

    AXA Claim - Homeowner

    Contact

    Buildings, Contents, Personal Possessions and Pedal Cycles

    0345 521 3905

    Domestic Helpline and Home Emergency

    0330 058 1638

    Legal Helpline and Legal Expenses

    0330 058 1641

     

    AXA Claim - Landlord

    Contact

    Buildings, Landlord’s Contents and Carpets, Curtains and White Goods

    0345 521 3905

    Domestic Helpline and Home Emergency

    0330 058 1639

    Legal Helpline and Legal Expenses

    0330 058 1643

     

    AXA Claim - Tenant

    Contact

    Contents, Personal Possessions and Pedal Cycles

    0345 521 3905

    Legal Helpline and Legal Expenses

    0330 058 1642


    AVIVA:

    Personal Protection

    Contact

    Changing details, making a claim or ask a question

    Aviva Contact Us

    Manage your existing policy

    Aviva My Account

     

  • Can I defer my insurance/protection payments? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes customers who are struggling financially due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) can now defer premiums for up to 3 months whilst retaining their important benefits and levels of cover.*

    If you would like to apply to defer your payments then in the first instance please use the contact details below;

    AVIVA  Protection policies

    Apply using either their website or contact  AVIVA direct on 0800 2851 098

    AXA insurance policies

    Apply by contacting Countrywide Insurance Services on 01908 961399

    * Please note that Terms and conditions apply and the scheme is currently available until 18 August 2020.

Conveyancing FAQs

  • I have exchanged contracts with a future completion date, but my circumstances have changed, and I now cannot complete my house purchase or sale. What should I do? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down
    • Once you have exchanged contracts, you are contractually bound to complete your sale or purchase on the agreed completion date.  If you are unable to do so, whatever the reason, you will be in breach of contract. This has always been the case, irrespective of the COVID-19 implications. 
    • The implications of this can range from payment of interest under the contract for late completion, loss of the 10% deposit paid on a purchase or refund of the deposit paid on a sale, and other reasonable costs that flow from the breach of contract.  In a long chain, this could include significant costs being passed on to the defaulting party, or having to chain break and find temporary accommodation to enable a sale to go through to avoid a breach of contract.
    • If you believe you can no longer complete, contact your Property Lawyer.
  • I know my case is ready to exchange and complete, what should I do? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are still exchanging and completing cases, but minimising the risks by advising that the safest option is to proceed by completing on the same day as exchange of contracts, or with a shorter than usual interval between exchange and completion.

    Ordinarily, there is a period of time between exchange of contracts and legal completion. However, in these uncertain times, there are a number of additional risks which may restrict your ability to move on a predetermined and contractually bound moving date. For example, you or someone in the chain could contract COVID-19 between exchange and completion which will restrict your ability to move. This could lead to hefty financial penalties under the contract.

    Some Law Firms are suggesting additional clauses to be inserted into contracts to potentially mitigate these risks.  Prior to exchange of contracts, your Lawyer will be able to provide you with advice on the options available to you, allowing you to make a decision that’s right for you.

    Our best advice is for you to exchange and complete on the same day or with a short interval between the two dates. Whilst not ideal as you will not have 100% guarantee that you are moving until shortly before, we think this is, on balance, the right approach during these extraordinary times.

    If you think your case is nearly ready to exchange and complete, please keep in regular contact with your property lawyer, as we will be working for you. Please keep your personal and removal arrangements under constant review. 

  • Are there risks exchanging and completing with a short interval/on the same day? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are quite used to dealing with simultaneous or short notice exchanges and completions, but they do require the co-operation of all parties involved in the transaction and there are risks.

    • It will be necessary for you to make all the practical arrangements in advance of the proposed completion date, some of which could incur costs in advance even though until contracts have been exchanged, you cannot be certain that the transaction will actually take place. 
    • All parties involved, particularly in a chain of transactions, will have to make the same preparations and if anyone of them cannot make those arrangements in time, or their own circumstances change, the arrangement may collapse at the last minute.
    • If a proposed simultaneous exchange of contracts and completion is not successfully achieved, then all the preparations would have to be repeated in time for an alternative date and you would inevitably incur additional costs (e.g. removals cancellation fee, interest payable on your new mortgage funds ordered in advance, ).

    Whilst we have highlighted the main risks, we believe that in the current climate, this is the right approach which will limit some risks which are more prevalent during this lockdown period, such as;

    • Mortgage lender delays - we know that the majority of mortgage institutions are affected by this crisis, as such there could be difficulties in getting mortgage funds for the day of completion
    • Law firms with limited capacity to operate or closed – during the lockdown period we could see office closures or Law firms who are unable to operate which could affect the ability of a chain to complete
    • Removal firms – Many removal firms are simply not operating during this time, especially in Wales, this may affect the ability of the chain to complete, it is recommended that you continually review your removal arrangements
    • Banks open for business – whilst we have not experienced any issues to date, this could be an issue during the lockdown period. We will continually review this with our bank and liaise with other firms prior to exchanging and completing.
  • I know my case is not ready to exchange, will you still be progressing the legal work and working on it? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    In common with other Law firms, we are operating remotely and at a reduced capacity. You can contact us by e-mail, and the auto response will direct you to respond to a mailbox which will be monitored. We do ask for your patience as we try to manage the unique challenges posed by COVID-19 in the best interests of everyone. We continue to work hard to keep our customers moving and are also focussed on progressing legal work for clients who are expecting to move in the future.  We are also aware that mortgage lenders are reducing their ability to service requests, and an increasing number of Law firms have told us of temporary closure or reduced staffing levels, all of which will have an impact on how much we are able to do.

    During these are uncertain times, we wanted to reassure you that the health and wellbeing of our customers, colleagues and communities remain the utmost importance to us. Please be assured that we are working through all queries and we will deal with your case, although we may not be able to respond as quickly as we would like.

  • Can you help me decide whether to continue with my purchase or sale? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Although we cannot make decisions for you, we will let you know the possible options and the risks of those options. Then you can consider what would be best for you and the chain of transactions in which you may be involved.  These are extraordinary times, but we are here to support you in your move in any way we can. 

Surveying FAQs

  • Covid Safe Compliance Certificate Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The health of our customers, colleagues and communities is of the utmost importance to us and whilst these are uncertain times we want to reassure you that our focus and dedication remains to help all our customers with surveying advice. As part of this we now have a signed declaration of government compliance.

    Covid Safe Compliance Certificate

  • I’ve applied for a mortgage, what happens next? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Many customers may have the same concerns and lenders will be experiencing high call volumes. If you have used a broker they may be able to guide you through this process or speak with your lender to ask about what happens next.

  • Can you value my property for mortgage purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes, we are still providing mortgage valuations for our clients. The valuation may be undertaken using our innovative remote valuation service. If we need to inspect your property we will contact you. The video on our website details how we will safely conduct an inspection of the property.

    It’s important to note that not all cases are suitable for a remote valuation and we can only act on the instructions received from your bank or building society if you have a chat with them they’ll let you know what will happen with your application.

  • Why isn’t my property suitable for a non-physical valuation? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We work with our mortgage lender clients to determine which properties are suitable for a remote valuation. We adopt a risk based approach and consider a number of factors including the value of the property, the size of the loan, property age and type and its location. As such not all properties will meet the individual lenders requirements.

  • When will you be undertaking surveys again? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are now undertaking surveys in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.

    We are here to help all homebuyers with their purchase decision. Please contact us at HomeFact@countrywide.co.uk

  • I’ve received my survey report and I have some questions, can you help me? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We have people on hand to assist our customers. Please contact us at surveying.insight@countrywide.co.uk and we will be able to help you.

  • I’m buying a new home and I need a survey, what should I do? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are now undertaking surveys in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.

    We are here to help all homebuyers with their purchase decision. Please contact us at HomeFact@countrywide.co.uk

  • Should I take the risk and proceed with the purchase if I have not had a survey? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    A survey helps you make an informed decision about the condition of the property. Without this knowledge, you may experience problems with the property when you move in. Or there could be defects which could be costly to put right.